Kingfisher Beach: Ilocos Norte’s new hideaway

The view from the Kingfisher Premier Casita

Perhaps, an inadverdent staycation, all by myself, is exactly what my being was looking for after a straight 5 years of blogging.

Kingfisher Beach, elsewhere between Saud Cove and Blue Lagoon, is a low-key spot, ideal for people whose idea of a vacation is serenity, relaxation, sun worship and water fun. It’s a jerky 12-km tricycle ride from the Pagudpud clam marker along the National Highway, but in my case, there is nothing more absolute than a hermetic, unperturbed beach, with a charming bohemian vibe, water sports access, cozy casitas and fabulous food.

Kingfisher Beach Premier Casita

At present, apart from rustic tiki huts and well-furnished casitas, there is only one casa with a pool. Owner Mon Manotok calls it the Premier Suite. It was where I spent the night, but I regret that I wasn’t totally prepared for this assignment. In my weekender was a sarong, a big shirt, an outfit for the next day, sunglasses, lipstick, hair cream, my D90, of course, and a bag where I throw in my scribbled notes. And just before writing this piece, someone mistook my notes for trash. But I brought home all the beautiful details — for you, dear readers. By the way, if you can get your hands on the in-flight magazine of Philippine Airlines, the October 2014 Mabuhay Magazine issue, I wrote about the new adventures in the two Ilocos provinces, hope you get to read the feature.


Having been extensively featured in international kiteboarding magazines and given TripAdvisor Excellence certificates, Kingfisher, equipped with a kiteboarding and windsurfing center, with only Cabrinha kites and gear, attracts pro kitesurfers and Western and Asian leisure vacationers. Surfing season is from October to middle of April. Says Lisa, a recurrent visiting Dutch expat who works in Boracay, “It’s a good place to learn kitesurfing.”

Side onshore wind and shallow, flat water, with reef breaks inside, bring beginners safely back to the shore. Costs of kiteboarding lessons will vary according to length of the course. Kingfisher offers other ways to bask in the sun — SUP boards, kayaks and snorkeling gear are up for rent. It’s a relatively friendly beach.

MJ CahiligKiting instructor MJ Cahilig doing what he does best.Kingfisher Beach

Watch this video by pro kitesurfer Fabrice Beaux, who used to teach at Kingfisher.A Cup of CoffeeThe Beach Restaurantsteak a la pobreBig BrotherMonKnowing exactly what he wants, visionary and keeper Mon Manotok keeps office at this spot.Community

Sociability is remarkable in this place — everybody is talking to each other. Zarah Chua, the attentive, neighborly manager says, guests naturally mingle with each other.

The food. A great discovery! From my simple countrified kahel juice to the beachy lobster kilawin and steamed fish – there was always something refreshing about it. Kingfisher has made an excellent cook out of Jomel Vidal. Their bestsellers are homey continental entrees, yet the meat dishes, beef tapa, baked pork and steak a la pobre, among others, are delightful. The kitchen is well-stocked — pressed coffee, premium coffee, fruit shakes, ice cream, pica-pica, burritos, beer below zero are readily available.

Dinamita and Lobster KinilawBeach FoodPressed CoffeeKingfisher Beach CasitasDroneKingfisher KitesurfingKingfisher Premier Casita 4Warm SandsSandySouvenirsPicture 206The RoomBeach Dreami lost my notes, but i will never forget all the soulful details...

One can get both picture-perfect sunrises and sunsets from the Premier Suite.

I lost my scribbled notes, but the sweet, warm, wild scent of Kingfisher Beach will forever linger in my mind.

Evening at KingfisherShorelinePicture 416

Lisa and I took shots of the newly-installed UPC windmills nearby. The area is closed to the public for rehabilitation of the vegetation in the next two years. Something to explore next is Ayoyo Cove at the end of the road.

Day tours like picnics within the camp are not allowed. It’s not exclusive, but Kingfisher wants to maintain the very idea behind this bed and breakfast that started as homespun. Perhaps, for diners, you can call in advance or get in touch with them through their website and Facebook page.

Ayoyo and Capirispisan

With special thanks to Eastgate Publishing Corp., Kingfisher Beach, Mon Manotok, Zarah Chua, MJ Cahilig, UPC project mananger and friends I met during my Kingfisher stay.

Kingfisher Beach Caparispisan, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Surf’s Up in Sabang, Cabugao

Sabanf Surf Scene

Yesterday was a great day to explore the second most northern town in Ilocos Sur. Only then did I discover that Cabugao is home to the newest surfing destination in the north. Through the twists and turns of the Salomague Road, with no signs, it was easy ending up in another village. The locals were helpful, however, in leading us to Sabang. To surfers, the quiet, less crowded Sabang is Kido’s Point, named after its pioneer surfer, Ronald “Kido” Cabasug.

Kido was trained by visiting Australian surfer, Rene Hodgens, in 1993. He continues to be the big influence in the growing culture in the fishing village where surfboards are paddled most, next to bancas. The swells from the north and south produce quality waves.

Sabang, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur

Kido heads the group of Sabang surfers known as Surfing Ilocos. A local competition around the coast  is slated this Saturday. They also teach beginners the sport. (For inquiries, contact Kido Cabasug at his number, 0905 778 4292.)

Next year, the group is again also assisting the Philippine Surfing Federation with a national event scheduled on January 28-February 2.

NeutralityOut to the SeaSurfing IlocosSt, Benedict Island, Cabugao, Ilocos SurBoard WalkSurf Lights

No waves, no glory. ‘Tis the season to get stoked in Sabang.

Cabugao SurfersYoung Surfer

The youngest, cutest surfer in Sabang.


I’d go boating to St. Benedict Island, a private island off the coast of Sabang, when the winds are down.

Other Points of Interest in Cabugao

St. Mark the Evangelist Church, Cabugao, Ilocos Sur

At the side of the Cabugao Municipal Hall is the St. Mark the Evangelist Church.

Sunset at Salomague

Not too far from the surfing capital of Sur is the historically significant Salomague Port and fishing village. Salomague Port was the foremost entry point of the Japanese Imperial Army during the WWII Japanese Invasion.

BancaThrough the BoatSakada Centennial Memorial

The Sakada Centennial Memorial, situated in Salomague, was built in commemoration of the first Ilocanos who left for Hawaii in 1906 to work as sakadas in sugar cane plantations. In Ilocos, the old-timers and their descendants are commonly referred to as Hawaiinos.


Sundown at Pug-os Beach, known for its white pebble sands. Beach resorts can be found around the area.

*With special thanks to Barangay Captain Eduardo Cobangbang, Sr. Ronald “Kido” Cabasug and the friendly surfers of Sabang.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013

My state of mind: Yearning for the beach

Sunset Wait

As Ericke says, home is where the waves are. And so is unspoilt beaches. I am reminiscing the blithe times  I’ve had with the family at the beaches we frequent. Click here to see my other beach posts.

Beach HutBoatThe Beach

Photos of the beach transfer a sense of calm. Nature is engrossing. I thirst for the blue expanse of the sea and sky and the bouyant feeling, amplified by the sound of rushing waves and warmth of the sand.

North Shore

Sexy Beach, though underrated, is always magical and serene every time we’re there. My most viewed and faved photos on Flickr were taken there. (Check them out here.) This brings to mind it’s been a long time since our last interlude at this memorable refuge.

Fishing VillagePangil Beach

Beachwear has become a staple when you live in the far northern end of the Philippines. Excitement naturally sets in for beachy things I stumble upon in the net! At the moment I’m ogling some stuff. Shoes in zalora perfect for beach and the yearlong summer in Ilocos!

Surf's up

While Ericke and Eugene always enjoy surfing the waves, I have yet to habituate myself on a surfboard. My board is a sandboard. Check out what we’ve been up to the past few years in this video. Surfing the sands has grown to be one of the thrills in Ilocos.

Bobon Beach

Kite surfing? Perhaps one of these days!


The beach. please! In blauearth lingo, Pasuquin, Calayab, Pangil, Bobon and Banniaran beaches are the family jewels. Don’t you love a little alone time at the beach?

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013